Health Care Concern Greater for CEO's in US than Other Countries

November 2, 2005 ( - The Conference Board's report from its survey of 658 global CEO's said that health care costs ranked seventh on the list of US CEO's challenges, but 52nd globally.

Richard E. Cavanagh, President and CEO of The Conference Board, said, i n a press release, “Corporate America clearly feels the healthcare pinch. As in the past, CEOs outside the US don’t view healthcare as a competitive challenge.”

The top four challenges for US CEO’s, according to the report, “CEO Challenge 2006: Top Ten Challenges,” were:

  • Sustained and steady top-line growth (39.4%),
  • Consistent execution of strategy by top management (38.4%),
  • Customer loyalty/retention (37%), and
  • Profit growth (27.2%).

CEO’s in Asia ranked profit growth (42.2%) as their top concern, while issues of speed, flexibility, and adaptability to change garnered 39.4% of the vote for CEO’s in Europe.

The Conference Board found that CEO’s of more successful companies, classified so based on their average return on assets, were more likely to list customer loyalty/retention as a top concern than CEO’s of less successful companies. The less successful firms ranked speed to market significantly higher than their more successful counterparts.

CEOs have increased the importance of faster speed to market, keeping up with new technologies, industry consolidation, seizing opportunities for expansion/growth in North and South America, outsourcing, and facing non-traditional competitors in their business, compared to last year’s study. Security of/safeguarding plant/operations/employees also rose in the relative rankings.

Challenges that fell in the rankings in this year’s study include: realizing gains from mergers/acquisitions/alliances, vigilance on ethics, cash management, short-term performance pressure, cost of capital, debt burden, and transnational regulation issues.

The full report can be purchased here .